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Smart caravans: the E-Trailer system


Welcome to the age of the digital caravan

Even if you have an older caravan, the E-Trailer app, a new system with a range of useful functions, will help bring it into the modern world and make caravanning even more of a joy

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Words by Clare Kelly and Rachel Stothert
Images courtesy of E-Trailer, RoadPro and Warners Group Publications





Introducing the smart caravan

The smart caravan

Caravan holidays offer a level of freedom that's quite simply unparalleled – go wherever you want, whenever you like and take with you all the comforts of home. These adventures are the ones you'll remember forever.

We know you already love caravanning, but it's easy to get caught out. Maybe you've turned up at a site only to realise you're nearly out of gas. Have you ever driven off with the rooflight open? Looked at your tyres and thought something doesn't look right? Noticed your caravan is not level even after you've completely unpacked it, or bent down to get something out of the fridge and found that it's not cooling the contents?

These incidents can, at best, cause minor annoyance and, at worst, ruin your holiday. No matter how seasoned a caravanner you are, there is a lot to remember from the minute you leave for your holiday to the moment you arrive back home.

If you're looking to simplify your tours and get that extra peace of mind, you could either employ a personal assistant who knows all about caravanning and is willing to get his hands dirty or you could consider the E-Trailer system.

The E-Trailer system

The E-Trailer app

About the E-Trailer app

Launched in 2017, E-Trailer was developed in the Netherlands by entrepreneurs, Rick Lenssen and Boy Trip.

The team discovered a niche, to use smart sensors placed in key locations to better inform caravanners and motorhomers about the status of their vehicle.

RoadPro has been in business since 1981 and is well known for its innovative, lifestyle-improving products. Founder, Andy Harris, commonly known as Motorhome Andy, saw the potential in the E-Trailer and is now the stockist for the UK.

Andy said,

“I saw the E-Trailer at a show in Düsseldorf a few years ago, and I thought ‘ooh, this is clever'. There was nothing else like it and that's what has always attracted me.”

How it works

The system increases and enhances your comfort, your safety and your convenience.

It does this using sensors that are all connected to a base unit called the E-Connect and the information from the sensors appears on your smartphone – both android and iPhone – via Bluetooth.

The E-Connect unit is easy to fit almost anywhere in the caravan and is powered by a 12V supply from the leisure battery. You can use the E-Trailer system anywhere that's within Bluetooth range of the base unit – in your towing vehicle as well as inside and around the caravan itself.

Caravanners can choose to have as many or as few of the available sensors as they wish, as it's modular and can be tailored to individual needs.

The E-Pressure module

The E-Trailer E-Pressure module

Monitoring pressure in your tyres

The E-Pressure sensor enables you to keep an eye on your caravan's tyre pressures. It even tells you their temperature. If there's a drop in the pressure, or if the pressure is too high, you'll be alerted so you can do something about it.

This can be done while the caravan is static (parked up at home, in storage or on a campsite), or while you are on the road. Low tyre pressures can increase the risk of a blowout, so you should have enough warning to pull over safely and check the tyre if the pressure drops – thanks to a smartphone notification.

The system works by replacing the tyre valve caps with sensor-equipped versions, which can be added to two, four or six tyres. Their batteries last up to two years and these sensors have the added benefit of maximising fuel efficiency, as underinflated or overinflated tyres can have an impact on fuel consumption. 

The E-Level module

The E-Trailer E-Level module

Checking your caravan is level

The levelling sensor does away with the guesswork of getting your caravan level and means no more running between jockey wheel and rear steadies and fussing with spirit levels.

On the app, you'll see a diagram with a cross in the middle. Once it's lined up, you'll see the caravan is perfectly level and have peace of mind that you won't be sleeping with your feet above your head. You can even use this in the car to define the most level spot on a pitch.

The E-Volt module

The E-Trailer E-Volt module

Monitoring your battery charge

A 12V leisure battery's charge is a finite resource and the E-Volt sensor monitors it and alerts when the voltage drops.

This is one of the most popular sensors and particularly useful for those who prefer to caravan independently, off-grid without access to hook-up, or during winter lay-up.

You can set how low the battery can drop before you are alerted and this module is suitable for all types of battery, including the latest breed of lithium ones.

It also gives an overview of the charge/discharge cycles – if you know anything about batteries, the higher the life cycles quoted, the longer the battery should last.

The E-Temperature module

The E-Trailer E-Temperature module

Monitoring the temperature anywhere

The E-Temperature module is pretty versatile. It constantly monitors the temperature in any part of the caravan you wish, depending on where you place the sensor.

This sensor is button-like and doesn't need to be affixed to anything.

It is most commonly used in the fridge and will alert you if a pre-set temperature has been reached. It also monitors humidity.  Plus, you can have several of these to monitor different things at the same time.

The E-Switch module

The E-Trailer E-Switch module

Checking windows and doors are closed

The E-Switch is incredibly useful. How many times have you started off on a journey, but had to stop and check doors, windows and rooflights?

If you fit a switch to a door or window, the app will confirm if it is open or closed. You can fit as many of these sensors as you like to the system, using them for doors, windows and rooflights.

The E-Gaslevel module

The E-Trailer E-Gaslevel sensor

How much gas in your gas bottle?

Monitoring the amount of gas left in a bottle is one of the trickiest things about caravanning.

And how often does the gas bottle need changing first thing or last thing, while you are brewing up your morning cuppa or cooking the evening meal?

This E-Gaslevel element has a wireless sensor that sits under steel gas cylinders (there is an adaptor for aluminium cylinders, too, but it doesn't work on plastic bottles). The app then shows you the level and can alert you when it is almost empty.

The E-Waterlevel module

The E-Trailer E-Waterlevel module

How much water is in your water tank?

If you have an on-board water tank or a portable one, you can have the E-Waterlevel module, which shows you the tank levels on the app.

Manufacturer-fitted systems are often not very accurate. This app can also update while you are filling the tank, meaning you never waste water by overfilling. It will also warn you when the tank is nearly empty.

The E-Load module

The E-Trailer E-Load module

How much weight are you carrying?

Of major interest to caravanners is the E-Load. Just replace a caravan's existing jockey wheel with the E-Load jockey wheel to ensure you are within the safe noseweight limit for better on-road stability.

Too low a noseweight and the caravan can sway, too high a noseweight will push down on the car and impact the grip of the front wheels.

The sensor on the E-Load jockey wheel is accurate to within 5kg.

Money-saving packages

It doesn't matter if your caravan is brand-new or much older as the sensors will work on all models.

The company also hopes to develop more sensors and applications, allowing your caravan to become smart, much like devices we have at home, no matter how old your caravan is.

It costs £141.70 for the E-Connect base station and then you simply add on the required sensors, with prices from £37.75 for the E-Level and E-Volt, rising to £264.95 for the E-Load noseweight module.

Money-saving packages are also available:

  • The Comfort Package includes a water, gas and temperature sensor – £219.95.
  • The Caravan Safety Package has two tyre pressure sensors, the E-Load jockey wheel and two E-Switch modules – £374.95.
  • The Starter Package has the E-Connect Hub, plus, the E-Level and E-Volt elements – £172.95.

Plus, get an extra 25% off...

We have negotiated a discount on the E-Trailer system.

Get 25% off by using the voucher code CARAVAN25 at the checkout on the RoadPro website.

What the caravanner thinks...

Merve Gaskin has several of these elements fitted to his Coachman VIP caravan.

Merve Gaskin reviews the E-Trailer app

Merve Gaskin - photo courtesy of Warners Group Publications

It was the convenience really. I looked at it and thought it was going to save me a lot of work – it's going to stop me worrying. The whole thing brings it into one application on the phone.

This morning, I drove to the caravan and it was freezing cold and immediately my phone alarmed. The one that alarmed was the fridge, which was too cold.

It tells me the battery is full, that the caravan is level. It also helps me level the caravan and tells me that all the windows are shut.

It helps me to do many things on the caravan that I would normally have to do manually, like the noseweight – it even tells me the noseweight. It's just a very convenient system to have.

And It's extremely easy to use and install. You install it with QR codes. I had no problems installing it and I'm not what you would call a techy guy by any stretch of the imagination.

Find out more about RoadPro

Tel: 01327 312233

Web: roadpro.co.uk

Don't forget, we have negotiated a discount on the E-Trailer system. Get 25% off by using the voucher code CARAVAN25 at the checkout on the RoadPro website.

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